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Ethiopia’s highlands boast many unique ecological features, but long-term human occupation, accompanied by sedentary agriculture, extensive cattle herding, and consistent population pressure has resulted in extensive deforestation and environmental degradation.

Forest care has been practiced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for centuries in the Amhara province. An aerial view of the region shows lush forests circling church buildings, an illustration of the spiritual motivations for ecological stewardship and restoration. Farmers, local administrative leaders, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church have worked together with Plant With Purpose to pursue watershed transformation.

Plant With Purpose in Ethiopia

In 2018 Plant With Purpose launched a pilot program to partner with farming families near the upper Blue Nile in the Andabet woreda in Amhara. 

Empowering Women

Upcoming Plant With Purpose curriculum is targeted at increasing the number of women involved in the program, as they are critical players in helping their communities escape poverty.

Expand the Work in Ethiopia

Key Stats

Program Watersheds
Savings Groups
Participating Families
Church Partnerships
Trees Planted
Program Fact Sheet coming soon!

Meet Some of Our Partners from Ethiopia

Select an image to learn more.

Gateye becomes a community leader through tree planting.

Gateye becomes a community leader through tree planting.

Gateye is a member of a community with a successful tree nursery in Ethiopia. He is the eucalyptus merchant. Before joining a Purpose Group, he only did manual labor and didn’t participate in things like selling seedlings. When Plant With Purpose began work in his community, he got the opportunity to participate in tree nursery training and decide whether to establish a nursery. After the nursery was established through a social fund that all local community members contributed to, Gateye became a role model for the community. He actively participated and attended all meetings. He produced 15,000 birr in the dry season. He sold seedlings for 4 birr each. When he got a loan for 60,000 birr, he expanded his business by adding other seedling species, which the local community frequently purchases.

Emawey finds the freedom to expand her business.

Emawey finds the freedom to expand her business.

Entrepreneur Emawey is a member of a Purpose Group. She is educated and expected to be employed after graduation, but she did not have the opportunity to work. As a result, she is obliged to be self-employed.

Emawey started her own small shop and sold consumable products like matches. Her small business was profitable, but she was unable to expand her business because she did not have access to capital. Traditional financial institutions would not loan to her because she did not have property for collateral. She was unwilling to take a private loan because she saw the high interest rate and knew it could lead to bankruptcy. During this time, Plant With Purpose started its development work and set up a Purpose Group near her community. Emaway observed this and eventually joined the second Purpose Group in her area.

Six months later, Emaway was able to receive a loan from her savings group and expand her business to include onion, pepper, and other spices. Currently, she says that “everyone, particularly an individual who wants to start a small business and plans to engage in retailer activity should join a Purpose Group.”

BirieMinwagew’s reslience after a break-in and theft

BirieMinwagew’s reslience after a break-in and theft

BirieMinwagew has been a member of a Purpose Group for two years. Since 2019, his livelihood depends on only trading shoes. He has received three loans and paid them back on time. He was recently elected treasure of the group. But after a few weeks, an unexpected break-in happened in his home, and he lost his stock of shoes, which was estimated to be valued at a minimum of 20,000 birr (about $400). Due to the break-in, he did not have cash available, and the only solution was to borrow from the savings group and apply with a social fund contribution. Based on the savings group loan application form the group allowed, the loan is repayable at 1200 birr at the interest rate 3% and social contribution (which is not repayable) of 4000 birr. Now, he has been able to start trading shoes again. Of the event, he shared that “Plant With Purpose savings group is a means to cope with an unforeseen event.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Our participant communities are in Andabet, which is in South Gondar of the Amhara region. Program placement is based on multiple factors including organizational connection with key stakeholders, assessment of community readiness, and need for our program.
There has been ongoing conflict along the Amhara/Tigray border, which is a distance from our participant communities. We have had periods of imminent danger in our participant communities, but the conflict has not come into our communities directly. We work closely with our Ethiopian partners to ensure safety and security for our employees and participants.
We are privileged to be one of only a few organizations collaborating with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). The EOTC is the largest church in Ethiopia, and many of our participants in the Amhara region are members of the EOTC.
Our model is unique in that it incorporates economic empowerment, environmental restoration, and spiritual renewal. This model has proven to be a powerful transformational approach in the rural farming communities where we work.

Our Global Impact


  • 63 Purpose Groups
  • 3,545 People Served
  • 69 Church Partnerships
  • 2,803,997 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Thailand


  • 533 Purpose Groups
  • 61,618 People Served
  • 317 Church Partnerships
  • 17,739,068 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Tanzania


  • 304 Purpose Groups
  • 17,777 People Served
  • 104 Church Partnerships
  • 1,191,044 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Mexico


  • 605 Purpose Groups
  • 84,336 People Served
  • 127 Church Partnerships
  • 6,433,828 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Haiti


  • 485 Purpose Groups
  • 47,920 People Served
  • 92 Church Partnerships
  • 2,940,590 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Ethiopia

    Dominican Republic

  • 338 Purpose Groups
  • 39,590 People Served
  • 178 Church Partnerships
  • 18,651,102 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Dominican Republic

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • 369 Purpose Groups
  • 89,384 People Served
  • 127 Church Partnerships
  • 4,371,540 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in the DRC


  • 816 Purpose Groups
  • 115,999 People Served
  • 184 Church Partnerships
  • 8,615,842 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Burundi


    Our Global Headquarters:
    4747 Morena Blvd., Suite 100,
    San Diego, CA 92117

    [email protected]

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